A Short History of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library
  • 1899 - Midland Library Association was formed as a subscription library with 25 charter members paying $1 a year that entitled them to check out 1 book a week for the year. Mary Dow, sister to Herbert H. Dow, was the first librarian.
  • 1900 - Midland opened it's first library in a room at the Unitarian Church with a collection of 200 books. 1,400 books were borrowed the first year.
  • 1915 - The Library Association voted to transfer the control of the Library to the Board of Education. The City agreed to pay $350 annually toward expenses.
  • 1919 - The Library moved from the Unitarian Church to the Carnegie Library building on Townsend Street.
  • 1935 - The children's department was formed in the basement of the Library.
  • 1955 - The Library opens the current building January 24 1955 designed by Alden B. Dow. Grace A. Dow (1869-1953), the wife of Herbert H. Dow (founder of The Dow Chemical Company), loved life, learning, and her community. Because of her desire to contribute to the community and her vision for the future, she endowed the Library that proudly bears her name.
  • 1974 - Reallocation of space devotes 1,500 square feet for Children's Room on lower level.
  • 1984 - MCTV (Midland Community Television) was created and housed in the Library building.
  • 1985 - Expansion and remodeling program made possible by a grant from The Dow Foundation adds 3,000 square feet, two-level addition to south side of Library.
  • 1994 - Eighteen-month $5.2 million expansion and renovation adds north and south additions and brings total square feet to 105,000 with nearly 4 miles of shelving. Youth Services doubles in size; MCTV moves into new studio and offices; Frances Patmos Audiovisual Room is dedicated; Friends of the Library Store and Midland Room open. Project is generously funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation and the City of Midland.
  • 1996 - The catalog and check-out systems became totally automated and online. Two Internet access computers for the public were added to the Adult Reference area. Later, additional Internet computers were added to the Adult Reference area and the Youth Services area.
  • 2000 - The Library celebrates its 100 year anniversary during National Library Week, April 9-15.
  • 2004 - "Cup and Chaucer" Coffee Bar opens, partnering the Library with the Arnold Center.
  • January 2005 - The Library celebrates the 50th anniversary of the building.
  • February 2005 - New "Teen Spot" room creates a separate space for teens.
  • October 2005 - The Library is awarded the 2005 State Librarian's Excellence Award. This prestigious award is given to one library a year for exemplary public service.
  • December 2010 - The Library wins the “I Love My Library” Sweepstakes contest held by audio book publisher Taped Editions by receiving the most votes in the nation. Read the press release.
  • January 2012 - The Library begins offering popular eBooks.
  • April 2014 - The Library completes a $3 million renovation project made possible through a grant from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to celebrate its 75th anniversary. The new design is inspired by the building’s architect, Alden B. Dow. 
Japanese Garden
Enjoy the quiet splendor of the Japanese Garden viewed from the magnificent floor to ceiling windows in the Library's Quiet Room. The Japanese lanterns were presented to the people of Midland from the People of Handa, Japan in recognition of our long-standing Sister City relationship.
japanese lantern